Do you think Maynard would have a problem if I said a rosary of Tool songs?

Not everyone comes to God in the same way. Not everyone comes to God. Not everyone has the same conception of God. All that is perfectly fine; it is not my place to tell anyone else how or what to believe. It has been my experience, though, that most people have one thing that speaks to them louder than everything else. I’m sure plenty of Christians will argue that they find God in their Bibles, Jews in their Torahs, Muslims in their Qurans, etc. When I encounter such people, I generally think, “You wouldn’t know God if He jumped up & bit you in the ass.”

Now, I’m not saying that you can’t find God in the Bible. I’m just saying that if that is the one place you find Him, then maybe you don’t know what He really looks like. People sometimes say they will find God in nature, in animals, in silence, in water, etc. When I look, I will find Him in all these places and more. You see, I’ve got this God that’s all powerful and He can find me no matter where I try to hide from Him.Image

This weekend, I got a chance to sit in on a Divine Mercy Chaplet with some friends. I am completely NOT Catholic for a number of reasons and I have no desire, whatsoever, to convert. I have found some beauty and logic to some of their rituals, though, and the rosary is one that intrigues me. I find it a useful tool for an area of my spirituality where I struggle – meditation.

As I listened to the rise and fall of the voices around me singing this prayer, my mind did what it normally does during meditation… it ran off & started thinking about all sorts of crap. I began plucking out the individual notes and the sweet sadness, longing and joy in the music. I questioned whether, after so many repetitions, the words still made sense to these women. Even reading these words carefully on paper, I struggle with their meaning. The emotion running through the song spoke to me, though, in a way the prayer alone would never be able to.

This brought me back to early sobriety. In those first few months, I saw God everywhere because I knew He was the only way I was going to live through this. That Dude knows me so well that He knew how music has always played a big role in my life. He even knew the kind of music that I was best able to identify with at this difficult time.  Yeah, I tried listening to Christian praise music, but it just wasn’t happening. Nope. God said, “Hey, you like Tool, Imageright?” Well, yeah, it’s been a while since I’ve heard it, but I can probably find my old copy of Aenima somewhere. Wouldn’t ya know, there He was! Here among the emotional pleas of a man struggling to overcome the pain of his youth, my God was talking to me. Songs like “H.”, “Jimmy”, and especially “Forty Six & 2” resonated in me and reflected my own battles and victories over my addiction. Continuing through his catalogue, I was able to follow Maynard’s emotional recovery from his past as I walked through my own emotional stages of recovery.

Today, as always in my past, my life has a soundtrack that will reflect my mood and speak to me in whatever place I find myself. Sometimes I do have the dark, empty Mad Season days; sometimes it’s the anger and betrayal of Stone Sour or Red Hot Chili Pepper’s joyful songs of gratitude. Most days now I have the peace and tranquility of Puscifer, the introspection of Mumford and Sons or the lazy fun of Kings of Leon. Today, God tells me I don’t have to strive. I don’t have to push for more and I’m not doing everything wrong. Today, God tells me that just being me is enough. As “Monsoons” plays, I picture myself lying on a blanket in the grass with the warm sun on my face. This is love. God is love.

Namaste.

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4 responses to “Do you think Maynard would have a problem if I said a rosary of Tool songs?”

  1. nicoleh26 says :

    that is interesting, I agree with you in the being able to see God everywhere, the earth, flowers, stars Ect. Ect. I mean there are two kinds of revelations, general and epic, general is yea God is everywhere, Epic (I say epic because its my term lol I use it a lot) is when God revels who he is to us, and who Jesus is and how we need Jesus to be saved, and only Jesus can save us. reveals his love to us! its overwhelming and amazing, you like rock? I am assuming lol….have you ever listened to skillet?

    • Laurie G.F. says :

      Yeah, Skillet is pretty good, but a little heavy for my tastes nowadays. I can appreciate where you’re coming from with your dogmatic idea of “general” and “epic” revelations. To me, it’s the other way around, though. I grew up in the church – Sunday School, youth group, singing in the choir – the whole nine yards. I couldn’t tell you a specific time when I was first instructed that the only way to get to God is through Christ because it feels like I’ve always known it. I was baptized at 9 years old and rededicated at 16 when I’d gone a little astray. All this “knowing” did nothing for me, though. I had to give up the dogmatic ideas and being told what to believe before I could find a personal relationship with my Higher Power.

      I certainly don’t begrudge dogmatic Christians. We all find our way to God in the way we need to. For me, though, I had to get away from the dogma before I was able to see God for who He is. In my understanding of God, He is far too big to be confined to one dogmatic viewpoint. If He was not so big that He could not encompass all the world and all the people and all the things and all the religions, then He could not be big enough to be God. If He could be fully understood, then He could not be God.

      Even Jesus’ disciples didn’t all believe the whole “I am the way, the truth and the life” bit in the way you describe. Have you read any of the gnostic gospels? I am especially fond of the gospel of Thomas where he puts forth a different interpretation of Jesus’ teachings. Thomas’s take was more that Jesus came to teach us that we are all children of God like Jesus was. Our primary sin, the one that prescribes all other sins, is disbelieving our own divinity and therefore believing that we are unworthy. Thomas’s gospel empowers Christians while John’s does the opposite by elevating Jesus to a status far above ourselves.

      While, yes, I do respect the divine nature of the Bible, we must remember that it was compiled by a human ruler who had been “converted” to Christianity (I say “converted” because there is question as to whether his “conversion” was simply political in nature). Charlemagne had the pleasure of reading through all of the popular gospels of the day (as there were as many different gospels as there were followers of Christ) and choosing which would be included in the basic Christian text. His purpose here was to provide structure to a previously unstructured following. In doing so, he greatly castrated an incredibly powerful and prolific spiritual movement.

      Before the organization of the Christian faith, followers of Christ were on fire walking the path which Jesus had set forth for them. They were affecting serious change in the world by helping to overthrow corrupt political organizations. Why do you think the Romans were feeding Christians to lions? Governments around the world were scared to death of these men and women who had received the gift of the Holy Spirit by hearing Christ’s teachings. Jesus did not come to this world as a peacemaker. He came to set the world on its ear by calling out corruption wherever it was found. This is why the Jewish leadership had Him crucified, because they didn’t want to be called out for their bad acts!

      Jesus gave us a new commandment, one which superseded all but the first commandment – “Love one another as I have loved you.” We get caught up in the salvation aspect of His coming to earth (which is definitely an important aspect, of course) and ignore His teachings. We can’t sit idly by and praise Christ all day without doing what He instructed us to do – namely “deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow me.” In taking on the name of “Christian,” what we are doing is telling the world “I am continuing the work which Christ began.” Too many Christians today don’t do that, though. Charlemagne attempted to assert his rule over his increasingly Christian following by organizing and compiling the Scriptures, leaving out the more empowering gospels. The Roman Catholic Church continued his work by allowing only priests to read and teach the Scripture as they saw fit. The Bible was not even translated into language the people understood until the time of Martin Luther in the 1500s. For centuries, the message of Christ was watered down by corrupt leadership and we were taught dogma, not the true message. The Truth is still there, though, and if we don’t get hung up on the dogma preached from the pulpit and instead seek out that Truth for ourselves, we will see it.

      But don’t let me (or anyone) tell you what to believe. You have to come to your own belief in the way that God shows you. I don’t subscribe to your form of Christianity and that’s okay. You don’t have to subscribe to mine. God is big enough for all of us. My understanding of God’s Will for me has evolved and will continue to evolve over time, so long as I continue to seek it out. As soon as I become stale in my belief, I will have lost sight of who God is because He is dynamic and all-encompassing. I will never fully comprehend the extent of His reach and His continual sacrifice for our sake. If He can find me in a heap on a bathroom floor with a needle in my arm, then He can’t be confined to a man on a cross. That is what He has shown me. If He has shown you otherwise, then that is what you need to see. We all come from different places in our lives and we all will receive the Word in our own way… and that is okay. God’s message for each of us will be unique because we all are meant for different specific purposes. Our primary purpose remains the same, though, to grow in our spiritual lives, to seek God and to do His Will, whatever that is for us.

      One other post which may help to “illuminate” my views on the matter can be found here: http://goddrugsandthugs.com/2014/04/28/this-little-light-of-mine/. I understand that we don’t believe exactly the same, but I don’t believe you are wrong in your beliefs. At the same time, I would appreciate if you would respect the validity of my beliefs, as well. You are not God and therefore not the arbitrator of what is wrong and what is right. As fallible humans, we must consistently humble ourselves before God and allow Him to judge.

      • jrj1701 says :

        Laurie, ya made some excellent points and I don’t want to detract from them by presenting a different POV, yet although Charlemagne did have influence on the Roman Catholic Church (there is some indication that the Franks had a hand in encouraging the Great Schism), the Canon for the New Testament was set long before he came on the scene and there were different reasons to leave the Gospel of Thomas out of the Canon. Don’t know if you would be interested in studying that or not, yet study of the early Church and its Councils have changed the way I view the Church.

      • Laurie G.F. says :

        I’m always interested to learn more. My understanding is constantly evolving and there are certainly things I don’t yet know. I know I demonize Charlemagne more than he probably deserves. No one man can be credited with the downfall of the Christian faith, of course. What I do know is that there is more to God than we are given in one book, divinely inspired though it may be. Please feel free to present additional POV’s as you see fit. This is how we learn & grow.

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